Skip to content
Love Camden
Camden Spotlight

Reflecting on our biggest Black History Season

That’s a wrap! Our Black History Season has come to a close.
In black writing 'Camden Black History Season' is in the centre of the image surrounded by blue, yellow, black, green and pink geometric branding

This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past three months, celebrating the incredible achievements and contributions of Black people across Camden and the UK.

This year’s themes were ‘Saluting Our Sisters’ and ‘Black Resistance’. We delivered over 45 events across the season, in partnership with the British Library, British Museum, Bloomsbury Festival, Anti-apartheid Legacy and the Roundhouse. A huge thank you to Outernet, Koko Camden, Samsung KX, Coal Drops Yard and Labtech for providing spaces for artists to platform their work.

Friday 29 September, marked the incredible launch of Black History Season 2023. Held at the Samsung KX building located in Coal Drops Yard and hosted by actor and director Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE. The launch was delivered in partnership with Black Owned London (BOLO) as part of their first ever BOLO Fest, a sensational celebration of Black culture, entrepreneurship and community.

There was a powerful performance from Impact Dance, African Drumming by One Drum Africa, and an introduction to the season from Councillor Francis, Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture. We gathered for a libation ceremony by Mr Quaye, heard tunes from DJ Linett Kamala, and heard from the Deputy Mayor of Camden. Local artist, Stelar Rey sang soulful music, Alex and Martin from BOLO hosted an interactive Black British History quiz on our borough. There were a variety of Black Business pop-ups from Camden Black History Group, the antiapartheid legacy Trust and Explore Africa.

What a great start to the season. We loudly and proudly celebrated Black Culture in Camden and the UK. Read on for our highlights.

Cause I Know I'm A Meet You At The Cross Road

This special photographic exhibition from Alexis Chabala was held at Swiss Cottage Gallery. It built upon the themes of death, religion, and reckoning. Through a compelling collection of photographs, this exhibition invited viewers to explore the intricate relationship between mortality, spirituality, and the pivotal moment of transcendence.

Windrush in Camden Exhibition

The Camden Black Pioneers was an informative display at Camden Town Hall, celebrating notable contributions of the Windrush generation in the borough and across the UK. From early community champions to the impact of the Windrush arrivals and subsequent influence/reverberations in popular culture.

Camden Black Radicals: Saluting Our Sisters

Human rights lawyer, UN Fellow and presenter Priscellia Robinson celebrated the lives of Camden women activists Claudia Jones, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Una Marson and Eslanda Robeson and their significant work in civil rights, social justice and Pan-Africanism. Followed by an ‘in conversation’ with Priscellia Robinson, Councillor Sabrina Francis, Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture and artist Rosa Johan Uddoh, hosted by activist and writer Athian Akec.

Lens to the Runway: Digital Installation and Artist Takeover

From outdoor multimedia installations at Outernet to fashion shows, exhibitions and panel talks at Labs House, this series of cultural interventions immersed audiences in an experience that placed Black voices at the emotional centre. Curated by Emmanuel Sugo, Sahara Ashanti and Auda Sakho from Camden Black Creatives.

Four Supper Clubs

Our Black History season celebrated Caribbean culture with a series of special menus and entertainment, spread across four nights in the borough. The first took place at Cottons with live reggae and Motown entertainment from duo Vibez Groovers. The second happened at Roger’s Kitchen and the third was Vibe N Go, with entertainment from Camden resident, Stelar Ray (Rita Marley) from Get Up Stand Up. The last took place at Ma Petite Jamaica with entertainment from ‘Moetry’, a platform of expression for spoken word.

Three Camden Stories

In light of Camden’s Black History Season's theme ‘Black Resistance’, Cultural Researcher, Shaun Wallace showcased local Black and LGBTQ History, exploring the lives of three Social Activist Pioneers at Swiss Cottage Library.

Black Victorians

Black Victorians held at the British Museum and presented by Jeanefer Jean Charles explored a complex, but often forgotten black presence in pre-Windrush Britain. This powerful dance performance called to attention previously hidden figures and challenged historical and contemporary perceptions.

Black Mary Project Open Day

The Black Mary Project is set to launch in Summer 2024. The Project, led by Black women artists and the community, will imaginatively reimagine a local 17th Century healing once said to be run by a Black Woman called Mary Woollaston. The open day took place at Calthorpe Community Gardens.

BOLO Business Podcast Live Panel

Black Owned London (BOLO) hosted a business podcast at Camden Town Hall. This was the live final episode of a series looking at inspiring individuals seizing opportunities, including our very own Head of Culture, Zerritha Brown. As well as, trailblazers Akara Etteh - Audience Development Executive at Universal Music Records, Roger Shakes – Chef/Founder at Roger’s Kitchen, Amika Ezer - Head of Specialist & Community Radio at Polydor Records and Batuala Alexander – Founder of Creators House. It was an interactive panel discussion inviting audience engagement, and a great opportunity to celebrate Black businesses, gain insights into leadership, and the vibrant culture of Camden.

What a brilliant Black History Season we’ve had here in Camden. We brought you a series of arts, culture and heritage events platforming Black resistance, excellence, and creativity. A special thank you to all our cultural partners who made this season possible. And thanks to all of YOU who attended our jam-packed programme. Until next year!